The recent introduction of smart well technology allows for new geophysical monitoring opportunities. Smart wells, which allow zonal production control, combined with monitoring techniques capable of capturing the arrival of undesired fluids, have the potential to significantly increase the oil recovery. We consider borehole radar as a valuable technology for monitoring of the near-well region. By coupling a drainage process of a bottom water-drive reservoir with electromagnetic simulations, we find that radar sensors located in the production well can successfully map the fluid saturation evolution. In low-conductivity reservoirs (σ<0.02 S/m), a system performance above 80 dB is necessary to record reflections in the range of 10 m. Higher conductivity values strongly reduce the radar investigation depth. Despite the technical challenges to implement a permanent down-hole radar system, the potential semi-continuous acquisition would make 4D ground-penetrating radar a promising technology in capturing the near-well fluid dynamics. Suitable environments are bottom water-drive reservoirs with thin oil layer and heavy oil reservoirs exploited by steam-assisted gravity drainage processes.

You do not currently have access to this article.